CBS Face-Plante: Reporter Claims White Men Helped Obama Win, When They Favored McCain By 16 Points

On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Bill Plante pointed out that "a new poll shows President Obama's support slipping in one key demographic that helped him win in 2008: white men." However, Pew Research Center's presidential exit poll from that year found that Obama actually lost 57 to 41 percent to Republican candidate John McCain.

Plante noted "concern in Mr. Obama's own party that his economic message in recent months is not connecting with voters," but led his report with a silver lining for the chief executive: "The President...has been claiming for months that he inherited the nation's economic problems, and in the new Gallup poll, more than two-thirds of Americans agree. They say that former President George Bush deserves either a moderate amount or a great deal of blame."

Bill Plante, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgThe correspondent turned to the issue of Democratic "concern" over the President during the second half of the segment. Plante cited an unnamed "senior Democrat" who advised that Obama "needs to say something new...talk about his agenda for the future." After playing a soundbite from former Clinton pollster Mark Penn, the journalist made his claim about white male support being a "key demographic" for the incumbent during the last presidential election.

An unsigned article from U.S. News and World Report on November 6, 2008 (two days after the election) acknowledged that Obama only "had the support of 41 percent of white men," but added that "no Democrat since Jimmy Carter had earned more than 38 percent of the white male vote." This might have been what Plante was referring to, but he didn't give any explanation or attribution to his claim.

The full transcript of Bill Plante's report from Thursday's CBS This Morning, which aired six minutes into 7 am Eastern hour:

CHARLIE ROSE: Now to campaign 2012 - President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney are both going to Ohio today to talk about jobs and the economy.

ERICA HILL: As Bill Plante reports, the President's speech has long been planned, and will be closely watched. Bill, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Race For The White House: Obama Speech To Frame Economic Contrasts"]

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Erica. Well, the President, you know, has been claiming for months that he inherited the nation's economic problems, and in the new Gallup poll, more than two-thirds of Americans agree. They say that former President George Bush deserves either a moderate amount or a great deal of blame. Only 52 percent blame President Obama. But today's speech, the first of a series, is to frame the difference between the President and Mitt Romney on how to grow the economy. But here's the thing: Democrats outside the White House circle are anxious for something more. Many of them think that the President needs to talk more about what he would do to lay out a plan for the future.

[CBS News Graphic: "Blame For The Economy: George W. Bush, 68%; Barack Obama, 52%; Source: Gallup Poll: Margin of Error: +/- 4% Pts."]

PLANTE (voice-over): President Obama heads to the crucial swing state of Ohio today, where he plans to reframe his economic message, drawing a sharp contrast with Governor Mitt Romney. His Republican rival will be across the state in Cincinnati, giving a speech at nearly the exact same moment. He took a preemptive swing Wednesday at Obama's message.

ROMNEY: My own view is that he will speak eloquently, but that words are cheap, and that the record of an individual is the basis upon which you determine whether they should continue to hold on to their job.
               
PLANTE: That criticism is expected, but there's also concern in Mr. Obama's own party that his economic message in recent months is not connecting with voters. As one senior Democrat told CBS News, the President needs to say something new - to talk about his agenda for the future.

Another long-time Democratic operative feels the same. Mark Penn has done political strategy and polling for many Democrats, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.


MARK PENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST AND POLLSTER: He needs a new message and a new economic policy, because the old economic policy and the old message just isn't working.

PLANTE: The race is in a statistical dead heat, and a new poll shows President Obama's support slipping in one key demographic that helped him win in 2008: white men.

PENN: I think he's got to target soccer dads - suburban men, professional, well-educated - those professional households where he got, basically, half the vote last time - are actually the ones who, most likely -- to make the big decision here in this election.

PLANTE (on-camera): Today marks the President's twenty-first visit to Ohio since he took office. And that's no accident, because Ohio is a key swing state. The only places he's been to more often are New York, where he raises lots of money; and Maryland and Virginia, an easy commute from here at 1600 Pennsylvania. Charlie, Erica?

ROSE: Bill Plante, thank you.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center